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Buck Woody

Carpe Datum!

More than One Platform

Many Data Professionals I deal with work with more than just SQL Server. I came from a background of COBOL flat-file databases, worked with Oracle, DB/2, Ingres, and lots of other databases as well.

While I find that the SQL Server professionals I know are fine with learning a new platform, many times I’ve run into folks on other platforms that don’t want to learn SQL Server. I’m not sure why this is. Data is data, and I’m all about the right tool for the job.

I’ve talked with my friends in the Oracle community, and there doesn’t seem to be a single answer. Some of them think that they would “dilute” their time for learning Oracle if they spent time on SQL Server. Others tell me that they think SQL Server DBA’s don’t make as much. While this might be true in scattered cases, I always point out that SQL Server has more licensed seats than Oracle – which I interpret to mean if I know both platforms, I’ll always have a job.

But I think there might be another reason. Many of the Oracle and DB/2 professionals I know have only dealt with SQL Server years ago – meaning version 2000 and sometimes even much earlier. They haven’t kept up with what Microsoft has done since then, and they are quite surprised when they learn that SQL Server runs Microsoft’s 85,000+ seats of our SAP instance, and what feature sets are in the product.

So once again, I’ll state my position for the record: use the best tool for the job, but stay up to date on the major platforms as far as their basic feature set, licensing model and costs, and when and where they are used. As the Data Professional, your organization depends on you to make the right choices.

Published Monday, December 21, 2009 6:52 AM by BuckWoody
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Tony Rogerson said:

Oh man - that is so true!

As a Data Professional you should always put your "own" "religion" aside for the sake of giving your client the right solution for the job.

All too often IT forgets its there FOR the business and its not the other way round!


December 21, 2009 10:45 AM

Wiseman82 said:

I'm the other way around - A SQL Server DBA with very little knowledge of other platforms.  I don't think I need to learn any other platforms at the moment - It doesn't mean I don't want to, just that I think my time is better spent learning more about SQL Server.  This makes sense for me as I only work with SQL Server and migrating to another platform wouldn't be an option.  

I do have a very broad awareness of the other platforms and have used Oracle in the past. In principal I agree it's useful to be skilled accross multiple platforms, but specialist knowledge in a particular platform is probably more important IMO.

SQL Server is such a massive product now - even within SQL Server there are many different skill areas.  There are probably not that many people that are true specialits in all areas SQL Server. If I add other platforms to the equation I worry that I might be spreading myself too thinly.

Choosing a database platform is an important decision and having knowledge accross multiple platforms will definitly allow you to make a better choice, but for many DBAs that decision has already been made and they simply have to work with the chosen platform.

If my role changes in future and I need to work with Oracle/DB2/MySQL etc then I'll look to aquire those skills as I need them.

December 21, 2009 3:35 PM
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